Examining the Influence of Undergraduate Students’ Perceptions of Academic Advising on Student-Institution Relationship Quality, Student Loyalty, and Enrollment Intentions: An Application of Relationship Marketing in Higher Education
Carol Logan Patitu, Ph.D. (Committee Co-Chair); Yoko Miura, Ed.D. (Committee Co-Chair); Daniel Abrahamowicz, Ph.D. (Committee Member); Jennifer Bloom, Ed.D. (Committee Member)
Doctor of Education (EdD)
As higher education institutions continue to compete for a declining population of students (National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, 2019), an increased focus on retaining existing students is required to maintain current levels of undergraduate enrollment (Elliott & Shin, 2002; Habley, Bloom, & Robbins, 2012; Judson & Taylor, 2014; Schertzer & Schertzer, 2004, Vianden & Barlow, 2014). Predominant student retention models (Astin, 1965; Bean, 1985; Tinto, 1987, 1993) emphasize the interaction between students and institutional representatives as a primary factor influencing the student experience and student decisions to continue enrollment in future academic terms. Although academic advisors are the institutional representative most likely to interact with a student throughout the student’s academic life, it is challenging to quantitatively examine the influence of academic advising on student persistence. Guided by the conceptual models for College Impact Theory (CIT), Social Exchange Theory (SET), Relationship Marketing Theory (RMT), and the Theory of Planned Behavior Theory (TPB), the current study examined the influence of perceptions of the academic advising experience on student-institution relationship quality, student loyalty to the institution, and student enrollment intentions. Based on theory and prior research, an a priori hypothesized structural equation model (SEM) was constructed. The purpose of this study was to test the hypothesized structural model. Data were collected via a self-administered online survey completed by undergraduate, degree seeking students, over the age of 18, who were enrolled at the main campus of a large, Midwestern, 4-year, public institution of higher education (N = 10,809; n = 685). SEM analysis using maximum likelihood (ML) estimation was performed to a) assess the overall fit of the hypothesized structural model to the sample data; b) determine the amount of variance in all endogenous variables that could be explained by the hypothesized structural model; and c) identify the direct, indirect, and total effects among the variables included in the hypothesized structural model. The hypothesized structural model exhibited poor overall model fit and post-hoc model modifications were made. Results of the SEM analysis on the final model using IBM SPSS AMOS version 25 software revealed several interesting findings. Most noteworthy was the finding that perceptions of the academic advising experience had a statistically significant effect on student enrollment intentions via the mediating effect of student-institution relationship quality. In order to support the role that academic advising plays in the development of a positive student-institution relationship, it is recommended that institutional leaders explore and implement policies and procedures that support a positive academic advising experience for all students. For open access institutions, specifically, institutions should take steps to manage advisor to advisee caseloads with an understanding that their students may be academically underprepared, unsure of career goals, and/or have limited understanding of college processes and procedures (Klempin & Karp, 2018). Recommendations for future research include focusing on re-specifying, retesting, and cross-validating the hypothesized model.
Year Degree Awarded
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